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Comment: Re: What Would be a Trivial Amount? (Score 1) 194

Another very simple idea is to just turn this crap off. Sometimes you have to MAKE it do so, since plenty of electronics nowadays don't have a true "off" option at all. So I put everything on surge protectors that have individually-switched outlets. Easy to find plenty of those on Amazon. Either the power-strip style, or I use the desktop models (the ones intended to sit under a monitor), depending on the application and where I'm putting it. The desktop models look nice inside an enclosed entertainment center, and make for easy switching of the electronics in there.

Either way, being able to physically flip the switch to cut off all those game consoles and those sound systems and those cell phone/laptop/whatever chargers, etc. etc. really helps.

I even installed a timer switch on my water heater (until I can get around to replacing the thing with a tankless instead). I found that the long-cycle heating up of the water when it's turned on via the timer, actually uses less power than "maintaining" the heat throughout the day. Though that certainly depends on your usage, of course. I'm a single person and generally only need it powered for a shower. The water remains hot enough even in the unpowered tank throughout the day for things like hand washing. I was surprised what a difference it made. Most of us Slashdot types probably already have programmable thermostats for HVAC, but you don't really think about your water heater sitting there sucking up power all day maintaining hot water you're not using.

I even have my damn dishwasher on a switch, conveniently right next to the garbage disposal switch. Only gets turned on when I need it. Sure, all this was a pretty fair amount of work at first, but once I'd done it, I literally cut my power bill in half. No joke, no exaggeration. Though again keep in mind I'm a single person and don't generally use a lot of power to begin with, admittedly, but still, slicing my usage in half just by putting crap I wasn't using on switched outlets made a tremendous difference to me. And I really don't think it's inconvenient to go over to the entertainment center and, say, flip the Playstation switch when I want to play that.

And as an added bonus, an unpowered device is one less possible source of circuit failure and fire hazard. That's just a nice little icing on the lower-power-bill cake.

It reads more like your in a high lightning strike area and are protecting your equipment. Still, I appreciate your efforts at cutting out waste.

Comment: Re:Power is bigger than you think (Score 1) 82

I work on PPC systems every day. I also use several. I'd wager that you do as well.

Have cable or satellite TV? 90% chance it's using a Power cpu. Drive a car with fuel injection? 65% chance your engine is run by Power, 90% chance something in the car is (ABS, nav, transmission).

It's been around a long time (30+ years), been 64 bit much longer than x86 or ARM, has good OS support and good compilers.

I work on and like ARM as well, but if IBM can make a value proposition in China with PPC, they actually have a chance at getting some market share outside embedded.

I'm a fan of Power, and even big-Endian. Why not come out with 96bit wide processors. 32gigs ram for home and small business computers is too small.

Comment: Re: Tell me about POWER and IBM. (Score 1) 82

I've been working with AIX since 1990. Prior to that a bit of SunOS. AIX is is different but generally well thought out. Most people who hate it simply aren't used to the differences. Lots of feature that we take for granted in today's Linux existed in AIX 25 years ago.

Tivoli Storage Manager is a dream. I remember setting up a high-availability TSM (well, ADSM at the time) server and having a client backup running during fail over testing. Client connection failed, continued retrying until the server was back up on the other node, then the backup continued where is left off. Transaction backup with rollback and resumption after server fail over! Try that with NetBackup or Networker or Avamar or CommVault.


And I loved VSAM, which was OS2 and which was ported to AIX. That was done in late 1980s.

Comment: Re:Keyword: *SOFTWARE* (Score 1) 82

The POWER architecture has been around longer than X64, the vast majority of linux software comes with source code and compiles fine on power (and arm, mips and anything else) so it doesn't matter what the underlying processor is. A lot of the software that doesn't come with source these days is java based, which will run just fine on power too.

Except for a small number of fairly niche apps, most linux based server loads will work fine on a power system.

I wonder if IBM would produce a Power cpu for the desktop at less than Intel I7 pricing. I would not mind if the chip was made in China.
If they do, hopefully it will be a 96bit version, with programmable little Endien/Big Endien mode.

Comment: Re:The Canadian middle class is dying out. (Score 1) 194

by lsatenstein (#49365515) Attached to: Best Buy Kills Off Future Shop

The Canadian middle class is being crushed out of existence. NAFTA has played a big role in this, as it resulted in much manufacturing draining directly to Mexico. Subsequent trade agreements have not helped. At the same time, there has been a huge flood of immigrants, most of them from third-world nations. The lack of work, combined with a large population increase, has resulted in higher levels of unemployment, along with higher housing prices.

Middle-class stores, including large and long-established chains, are closing throughout Canada at an astounding pace. Zellers is gone. Target never really got off the ground. Sears is on its way out. Many of the mid-sided clothing stores have gone under lately, are in the process of going under, or are just about to.

The middle-class retailers that have survived so far have often done so only by dropping their quality levels, or moving into higher-end goods. There is a stunning degree of economic polarization: either you are quite wealthy, or you are very poor. This is a huge change from what the country was once like, when it had a robust middle class. Most middle-class Canadians have been, or are being, forced down to a Wal-Mart level of existence.

The same holds true for the USA. However, regarding BestBuy, I have no tears for them. They were usually a "list price + 50%" business. As an example, I bought hdmi cables (6foot lengths) for $3.00 each, BB's price was $39.95ea. I purchased several "wireless mouse"s at $6.00ea, BB was $25.95 for the same product.

So, if you are seeing desktops at $1000, when they should be retailing at $550.00, you know the reason why. Its called "what the market will bear+10%"
As competition becomes stronger, BB will have to compete or close. In my area, they were advertising packaged food deals.

More examples
DDR3 ram should be in the $2-$3 per gig (8gig dims for $25.00, not $50.00). Manufacturing and distribution costs are less than $10.00/8gig dims
As BBs prices come down so they can compete. so will prices follow from Amazon and NewEgg and TigerDirect and the others.

Comment: Re:is this good? (Score 1) 159

by lsatenstein (#49361917) Attached to: Many Password Strength Meters Are Downright Weak, Researchers Say

123Password is very strong because it uses numbers and upper and lower case letters.
Those meters are stupid.

As long as it's not one of either this list: or just a copy of your exact username, then yep it will probably suit you just fine. Dictionary attacks don't happen in break ins nearly as often as exploiting password resets (via social engineering or otherwise) or other blatant sidesteps of security (token reuse, etc), since everyone tarpits bad logins, sometimes after as few as 3 attempts.

I found some dead keys on my keyboard, and mapped some foreign characters to the keyboard map. Since testers rely on only whats on standard keyboards, I figure I am a little safer than the average guy setting up passwordsif I include one or more of these characters.

Comment: Re:Good Luck (Score 1) 330

by lsatenstein (#49361307) Attached to: Amazon Requires Non-Compete Agreements.. For Warehouse Workers

That's a pretty broad exclusion to be enforceable.

The non-compete is illegal where I live. No organization can prevent you from improving yourself (a better job), or earning a living by going elsewhere. The exception is (not tested in the courts), if you open your own business providing competitive products to a competitor of equal size. The better job includes going to a competitor. Thus, the only protection a company has is the "trade secrets portion", and that is hard to define.

Comment: Re:How is this new? (Score 1) 172

There is absolutely no incentive for Heinz to put this into their bottles. This means people will spend less on average on ketchup per year since they can get every last bit out of the bottle. I know it may not seem like much, but multiply it by millions of bottles sold and it adds up to a hefty hit on their bottom line.

I have to contradict you. Yes there is an incentive. If you can get all the condiment out from the container, instead of losing 15%, then Heinz and others can make their portions smaller, without reducing selling price.

Comment: Re:Countries without nuclear weapons get invaded (Score 1) 228

by lsatenstein (#49354903) Attached to: How Nuclear Weapon Modernization Undercuts Disarmament

Often by the United States of America or other western powers. When nations see that having a nuke prevents other nations from toppling them, nukes become vital for stability.

Perhaps we should stop driving them towards nuclear weapons by invading them for oil and minerals.

I believe every country should have a few hundred nuclear weapons of at least the power to destroy a city of radius 50km. And let every nuclear country realize that if they throw the bomb, automatic mechanisms from at least 100 different sources would automatically launch a counter attack.

I compare that right to have the bomb to the USA gun law, where everyone can have an automatic rapid fire rifle. All that is important is to keep the bomb away from individuals wanting to commit suicide.

Comment: Re:Hardware is trusted (Score 1) 83

It'd be nice if the next iteration of EFI had a more robust upgrade security design.

Something like this: Firmware upgrades are not possible from inside the OS. At all. Instead there's a switch on the mainboard that is only accessible when the computer has been physically opened. When that switch is on, EFI will refuse to boot any OS and all onboard SATA/SCSI controllers are physically disabled. EFI will scan every USB port* for a FAT32-formatted mass storage device containing a file with a certain filename, which is then displayed for your approval, checked and installed. While the switch is off, changing the firmware should be prevented in hardware, such as by detaching a certain line required to write to the flash chip. (Settings should be stored on an unprotected chip and can be changed while the computer is bootable.)

You're in a corporate setting and need to update 16.000 identical desktop computers all at once? Make sure the computers have an enterprise-ready mainboard that can pull the update from the network (e.g. using something similar to BOOTP). You'll still have to toggle that switch and confirm the prompt. That's as convenient as it should get; after all, if there is any chance that the firmware is modified while an OS is loaded, any successful attack on the OS leaves your firmware in a potentially compromised state.

* Yeah, I know, USB also has infectable firmware. Unfortunately, I don't know of a reasonable mass storage standard that doesn't. And making people physically swap PROM chips won't fly.

Some, if not most mother boards have a slot or space for tpm chip. That tpm is a smart smart card chip that can store data, can encrypt data and act like a vault. Thats a few pennies and does not require an external pair of wires to a physical switch.
  TPM = Trusted Platform Module. ( )

Comment: Virtual water won't work, Need drip irrigation (Score 1) 417

by lsatenstein (#49321193) Attached to: How 'Virtual Water' Can Help Ease California's Drought

California has more water than Israel. Israel actually does a great job or water preservation by watering individual plants with a drip irrigation system that runs water in a plastic hose along the run, and where there is a plant, They install a tee connection with a controlled drip to the plant area. They also mulch. Israel reduced wasted water consumption by more than 80%. Works for fruit and vegetables, exterior and greenhouses.
You just can't continue to do wide area spraying, as we see on youtube and on TV.

Comment: My light weight wrist-watch with the 7 yr battery (Score 1) 111

I bought a Seiko, because it was thin, light-weight, and had an approximate 7 year battery life. After 7 years, I bought a new battery, installed for $10.00

So, I have to change the date 6 times a year, and adjust for leapyear twice a year. Big-deal. But my watch can be immersed in water, and still keep on functioning. Newer electronic watches from the consumer market now are perpetual. Date, self adjusts, and the solar panel in the watch keeps the internal battery charged. Why would I need more. Do I need to text to my watch during meal times?

Real Users find the one combination of bizarre input values that shuts down the system for days.